ALONG with witchetty grubs, critters and Bushtucker Trials, they are synonymous with I’m A Celebrity . . .
The Geordie duo can’t wait to get back to business following Ant’s troubled year, which saw him face up to drink and prescription-drug problems.
Replaced last year by Holly Willoughby (and her colourful outfits), this time around the boys are promising their liveliest series yet.
From their least favourite contestant of all time – hello, Katie Hopkins – to off-screen nudity, below Ant and Dec answer our exclusive Q&A . . .
Ant, welcome back to the jungle. How are you feeling about your return Down Under?
Ant: I’m very, very excited about getting back on the show. It’s a brilliant place to work and a brilliant part of the world to be in. Plus, I’m back with my best friend. I can’t wait.
What are you looking forward to most about this series?
Dec: The cast. We’ve been privy to a few of the names taking part this year. We’re very, very excited as it’s one of the best casts in years.
It’s a time of year we really look forward to and we love being in Australia. This will be our 19th series and it’s a show we absolutely love doing.
What is your favourite moment since it all began?
Ant: There are so, so many. We could never pick just one. Dean Gaffney’s live trial, Gillian McKeith fainting, Anthony Worrall Thompson leading the breakout across the bridges because they didn’t get enough sausages in their tucker bag . . .
Dec: Royal butler Paul Burrell’s Hell Holes trial. That was the first time we really laughed on television at one of the contestants. Before that, we kept it in. But we couldn’t with him. And we haven’t stopped laughing since.
Ant: Tony Blackburn and Uri Geller getting Michael Jackson’s birthday wrong. That was hilarious.
Dec: John Fashanu pretending he’d done 2,000 sit-ups. So many fun memories across the years. It’s why we love this show.
Who is your favourite contestant of all time?
Ant: Again, there are so many of them. Winners like Phil Tufnell and Joe Swash. Stacey Solomon and Harry Redknapp.
FIVE jungle celebs risked encountering potentially dangerous stingrays when they took on their first challenge, I can reveal.
In scenes to air tonight, Ian Wright, Nadine Coyle, Myles Stephenson, Kate Garraway and James Haskell were tasked with swimming from a boat to a beach where the other celebs waited.
Safety chiefs checked the waters first amid reports of stingrays in Gold Coast waters.
A source said: “Stingrays are harmless left alone but if you provoke them accidentally, they can be lethal. It was important to be aware of the risk. The waterway was checked thoroughly and declared safe before they put a toe in the water.”
Wildlife legend Steve Irwin was killed by a stingray in 2006 filming a documentary at Australia’s Great Barrier Reef.
Dec: Also, Janice Dickinson, David Van Day and Tommy Mallett.
Ant: Amir Khan was amazing. And David Gest, RIP. We’ve had so many great campmates over the years.
And a least favourite? If so, why?
Ant: We don’t really have a least favourite campmate, as it’s all great content for the show.
Dec: Gillian McKeith not doing trials was frustrating at the time but that was her journey on the show.
At the time when you’re there and you’re trying to get her to do it and she says no, you feel sorry for all the people that have put so much effort into producing the trials and making them so spectacular.
Ant: But we get to play golf, so it’s swings and roundabouts really.
Dec: Probably my least favourites are some of them you don’t actually remember, as they didn’t bring a lot to the camp.
Ant: Katie Hopkins was in I’m A Celebrity but you wouldn’t really remember her doing it, as she didn’t really shine.
What has been your most memorable Bushtucker Trial?
Dec: Prob Paul Burrell’s Hell Holes. It was so hilarious the way he was going on. We couldn’t help but laugh.
Ant: I would say Dean Gaffney’s live trial. All Dec did was laugh during that trial. He didn’t hold it together at all.
Dec: I would recommend watching it back on YouTube and seeing how little I brought to the proceedings.
What’s the naughtiest thing producers have had to cut from the edit?
Ant: There’s been lots of things. No sexual intercourse or anything like that. It’s not Love Island. There’s been a lot of chat that hasn’t made the edit.
Dec: There’s been a lot of nudity that hasn’t made it too.
Who has been the biggest diva on-set?
Ant: “Diva” isn’t the best word, as they all end up doing something at some point.
Dec: Nigel Havers refused to do an electric shock. He said: “I don’t do electric shocks.” But it was to a stuffed kangeroo in Kangeroo Court, so that didn’t work.
Which celeb has surprised you the most and why?
Ant: Someone like Joey Essex, who went in and I thought he wouldn’t be entertaining at all, when actually, I grew to really like him. He totally changed my opinion on reality stars, as he was a very nice, likeable kid.
Harry Redknapp became a camp hero. Tell us something about Harry viewers didn’t see.
Dec: The difficulty with Harry is what you saw, is what you got. That’s what he was like. What you didn’t see is he had loads of brilliant stories and he told them about five times a day.
He went round telling everyone the same story. We would watch it back in the morning and say: “That was a good story.”
And the producers would say: “Yes, it was the first time . . . but he’s told that six times today.” He’s a great storyteller but we heard it all a few times.
Have you ever tried a witchetty grub? Or any other edible Bushtucker Trial?
Ant: Nope, not at all. We wouldn’t.
Dec: Absolutely not. We stay in a lovely apartment on the beach, where we have steak and chips.
Have you struck up a friendship with any of the contestants over the years?
Ant: We know them throughout the years. We see them after and we’re always very polite to them when we see them.
We have a rule that we don’t take the mick so much, as we know we’re going to meet them at the wrap party.
Cait won’t quit
Caitlyn Jenner says she will not quit camp under any circumstances – and is ready to be crowned Queen of the Jungle.
The former Olympic champ is this year’s marquee signing, setting back the I’m A Celeb producers around £500,000.
But Caitlyn, who has daughters Kendall and Kylie Jenner with their “momager” Kris Kardashian , says she is in the jungle for the long haul.
Caitlyn said: “I am in it until the end. There is nothing that could make me quit. I made a commitment to do it and I will stick it out. It is not going to be easy.
“I just want to go in there and survive, represent myself and my family well, do a good job and be nice to everybody.
“Whatever happens happens. I don’t even think about that stuff.”
Dec: Ultimately, we have the utmost respect for them. They have the bottle to go in there and do that.
It’s not easy putting yourself out there for three weeks on live television. We take our hats off to them for taking up the challenge. We wouldn’t do it.
Ant: Dec does now have a bromance with Noel Edmonds over email . . .
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